A Croydon grandmother says she "lost everything" including her family heirlooms and new furniture after a bungled plumbing job flooded her council flat with mains water.

Rosemary Boden, 64, woke to find water dripping from the ceiling into her council flat of 16 years.

Since being moved from her West Croydon flat to temporary accommodation in Lower Addiscombe, she has repeatedly been denied opportunities to salvage her property from the flooding.

When Boden went upstairs to investigate, she found workmen from Mulalley, Croydon’s kitchen fitting contractors, struggling to stop the flow of mains water into the flat.

She told the LDRS how the flood started on September 27.

Rosemary said: “My entire home, everything, is lost and ruined. Everything is wet and there are green mould spores everywhere. 

"Just after 8am, I woke up and could hear dripping and looked in my bathroom to see that water was dripping from the ceiling.

"I knew they were fixing the kitchen upstairs, so I went to open the door to shout up to the workmen. The water literally started cascading down through the ceiling and all the workers were running around like headless chickens trying to find a stopcock.”

“When the workers tried to turn off the main stopcock, the pipe snapped and the main water pipe burst, sending full power mains water coming through into my flat for 40 minutes.

"It snapped because the stopcock was metal and the pipework was rusted, which was a result of a previous leak I had. If it wasn’t for the wet room in my flat, I would be up to my ankles in water.”

“They couldn’t stop the full force of the water and in the meantime, all that water’s gone into my flat.

"On that day, I sat in my garden all day while people came in and out taking pictures. I was there in my nightie and slippers, and all they did for me that day was find me new accommodation.”

Boden, who uses a wheelchair, made several attempts to return to the flat to try and salvage her many personal belongings.

However, she was repeatedly told that she could not enter the property due to the health risk and rampant mould in the flat.

Boden has COPD and so could not enter the house to conduct an early insurance check.

She told the LDRS: “The following day I went back expecting them to empty the flat out because everything was soaking wet and had to go.

"By now, the wallpaper and ceiling paper has come down. Instead of that, they put a humidifier in instead of emptying all the stuff out.”

Boden’s daughter, Sandra Burns, told the LDRS how her mother felt she was neglected on the day the flood took place.

She said: “The day it happened, there were council people everywhere, but you couldn’t get an answer out of them.

"There was no sign of an apology, no one even acknowledged that she was there. It was just as well the weather was good at that point because she was just there in my nightie and slippers.”

“All this humidifier has done is created more mould because it’s letting out hot air, which mould thrives in.

"They have just made it worse for themselves, because had they emptied it that week the damage would have been minimal. They haven’t done anything or even seen it.”

“The council haven’t been back in there to see the extent of the damage since they took their original pictures.

"Everything is mouldy, the mould in there is so bad you can taste it in the back of your throat. There are bottles on the kitchens on the side that have gone mouldy.”

Former school cook Boden believes the delayed visits to her flat to recover her soaking possessions meant many of her personal possessions have been lost to damp and mould.

She said: “We are now a week and a half in since Mulalley’s insurance counter-claim, and there’s more damage now than there was before. Although they claimed it would all be washed and cleaned, I don’t want it all now, it’s all wet.”

Burns told the LDRS about the extent of her mother’s loss as a result of the flood.

She said; “Her bed alone cost over £1,000, the mattress was over £500. My mum saves the little money she does get to buy herself quality stuff. She’s a single lady, why not? We don’t even know if her wedding photos are safe because they are under the bed. I don’t think they realise the enormity of the loss.”

Boden told the LDRS she believes the delay in her returning home and collecting her items is due to a dispute between Croydon Council and Mulalley about who is responsible for paying for the damage.

She said she arrived at this conclusion after conversations she has had with various tradespeople who have worked on the property.

As mentioned, this was not the first time Boden has experienced flooding as a result of a pipe leak.

Six years ago she suffered another leak resulting from cracks in the rusty pipework under the sink of her neighbour upstairs.

Despite being rusted and covered in mould, Boden said this pipework was not replaced, and instead a metal stopcock was placed on the end as a temporary fix.”

“The water was teeming through the hallway, the kitchen and bathroom. Common sense told me not to turn the light on as I went in. However, the light from the hallway shone on the water on the floor. I was shocked.”

“Myself, my daughter, my grandson and his girlfriend all cleared up all the water after this leak.

"All the council did was repair the kitchen units that were damaged and had only been completed three weeks before. It was brand new for three weeks before the rusty pipes, whereas this recent leak was the mains pipe which damaged the entire of my flat.”

“They think that because they’ve put a roof over my head that I will put up and shut up. No I won’t, it is my home. Don’t get me wrong, the flat they have put me in is very clean, there’s nothing wrong with it, but I shouldn’t be there, I should be in my home. I seriously can’t take it any more.”

Boden told the LDRS how the council were underestimating her but not treating her like the victim she is. She said: “My father worked for Croydon council for 40 odd years, I know how certain trades are meant to work.”

She also told the LDRS how she is worried about the fridge and freezer full of food that is remaining in her flat.

Since being informed she is nearing the end of her pre-paid electricity meter, she has had to arrange trips to ensure it is topped up. She complains that neither party will compensate for this as they don’t want to accept the blame.

Burns also expressed her concern that her mother’s now precarious housing situation will affect the benefits she receives. She said: “She’s worried that if the DWP find out that the government are paying rent for her here, they won’t give her the benefit to cover Tamworth road. This would mean she could face rent arrears and possible eviction.

Apart from minor damage to the carpet of the upstairs flat, there has been no other property damage in the Tamworth road block.

Croydon Council and Mulalley were approached for comment.